GOP-Controlled Legislature Approves Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Proposals

Jake Neher

State Democratic Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint)

The state Legislature has approved two proposals that were otherwise headed for the November ballot. The measures, approved on Wednesday, will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $12/hour by 2022 and require employers to offer earned paid sick leave.

Groups in favor of the ballot proposals are concerned the Legislature will adopt the proposals – only to effectively gut them later with amendments. Because the Legislature passed the measures instead of the voters, it will only take a simple majority to make changes to the measures later.

If approved by voters, it would have required a three-fourths supermajority vote in each chamber to change the laws.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) says the plan is not to “gut” the proposals.

But we’re looking at all the things that would continue Michigan to be on the economic growth path,” he says. ”And some of these things are prohibitive.”

Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) is the leader of the Senate Democrats. They voted against the measures, even though they support the policies.

It’s difficult, there’s no question about it,” he says. ”And if I thought they were actually going to raise people’s wages and actually get people paid sick leave, I would be the most strongest champion ever. But when it’s a scam on the voters I have a problem with that, and it’s a scam on workers all across the state.”

Business groups have advocated against the measures saying they’ll hurt the economy.

An attorney for the group behind the minimum wage proposal says the group will sue if the Legislature weakens the proposal later this year.

Zach Gorchow, editor of the Gongwer news service in Lansing, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about the votes.

Click on the audio player above to hear that conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

This post is a part of 2018 Elections in Michigan.

On November 6, Michigan voters will decide who will be the state's new governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Some state House and Senate seats are up for grabs, and numerous initiatives are expected on ballots.

WDET is committed to providing honest, fair, inclusive coverage of Michigan's 2018 elections. Join us now and all the way to the voting booth to be an informed voter.


About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.  

Cheyna Roth


Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.   Follow @Cheyna_R

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